Raising a Glass to Visionary Flood Prevention

Written By: Market Development Director, Hydro International.

Wigan Hydro Brake web

Official celebrations to mark the success of two pioneering flood prevention schemes have highlighted their pioneering approaches to flood storage and deserve hearty congratulations.

Glasgow City Council’s hugely impressive White Cart Flood Prevention project celebrated its official inauguration to much-deserved engineering plaudits on October 31 while Wigan’s visionary Flood Alleviation project was marked with celebrations just a few weeks later on November 18.

Both projects have broken records by using the world’s largest Hydro-Brake® Flow Controls at the centre of their dam designs, delivering no-power, low maintenance engineering solutions to protect town centre homes and businesses.   But it’s not the scale of the projects, so much as their vision which is the most impressive.

Both schemes use unconventional flood storage solutions to achieve a sustainable result, but their settings are very different.  While Glasgow’s dams hold back water high in the rural Scottish uplands, Wigan’s flood storage is achieved in a green corridor close to the town centre.

Both schemes centre on innovative Hydro-Brake® Flow Control technology and both required Hydro’s manufacturing innovation to develop bespoke versions of the cone-shaped vortex controls to hold back the floodwaters.    None the less, the same simple principles of attenuation hold true for the giants in these dams, as for the more familiar Hydro-Brake Flow Control technologies that most civil engineers are familiar with.

The White Cart Flood Alleviation scheme now protects some 1,700 properties in the South of Glasgow, putting an end to the flooding which has plagued some areas for more than a century.   There’s no doubt it’s a major engineering achievement.    Recently, it won a Project Commendation at the Saltire Society’s Civil Engineering Awards held in association with the Scottish Association of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Whilst the Glasgow scheme with its three flood storage areas and dams is humbling in the scale of its achievement, the Wigan scheme, in some ways set bigger engineering challenges.   The Environment Agency set Hydro tough challenges to ‘fine-tune’ the flood storage and to make it adjustable in the future.  Working with the EA and consultants Jacobs Engineering, we spent months using both physical and computer-aided modelling to ensure the Hydro-Brake® Flow Controls were precision engineered to optimise the storage capacity.

You can read a case study about the Glasgow Flood Prevention Scheme here and the Wigan Flood Alleviation Scheme here.

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